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Darden Restaurants, Inc.

Darden Restaurants, Inc.
Orlando-based Darden Restaurants is considered the world's largest casual dining restaurant company in terms of market share and annual sales. Restaurant entrepreneur Bill Darden, who opened the first Red Lobster restaurant in Lakeland in 1968, founded the company. Darden is considered one of the pioneers in the development of full-service chain restaurants in the United States.

Since its founding, it has grown to operate more than 1,700 restaurants in North America with about 170,000 employees. Darden was a subsidiary of General Mills from 1970 until 1995, when it was spun off as a separately held publicly traded company. The company's headquarters was moved to Orlando when it beca...
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Orlando-based Darden Restaurants is considered the world's largest casual dining restaurant company in terms of market share and annual sales. Restaurant entrepreneur Bill Darden, who opened the first Red Lobster restaurant in Lakeland in 1968, founded the company. Darden is considered one of the pioneers in the development of full-service chain restaurants in the United States.

Since its founding, it has grown to operate more than 1,700 restaurants in North America with about 170,000 employees. Darden was a subsidiary of General Mills from 1970 until 1995, when it was spun off as a separately held publicly traded company. The company's headquarters was moved to Orlando when it became a division of General Mills.

Darden is most closely associated with its two largest restaurant brands: Red Lobster and Olive Garden. Both of those chains now have more than 600 locations. The company's attempt to diversify its restaurant holdings has had mixed results. In 1995, Darden shut down an internally developed Chinese restaurant chain called China Coast. Since its spin-off, Darden has also created a barbecue and sports bar-themed restaurant group called Smokey Bones, a Caribbean-themed chain called Bahama Breeze, and a higher-end group of restaurants called Seasons 52. The company announced its intention to sell its Smokey Bones restaurants in May 2007, admitting that the brand did not have the potential to become a national chain. In August, Darden agreed to purchase Rare Hospitality International, which operates the LongHorn Steakhouse and Capital Grille restaurant chains, for an estimated value of $1.4 billion.

Clarence Otis, who took over the company from long-time chief Joe Lee in 2005, serves as chairman and chief executive officer. Darden posted $5.6 billion in annual sales in fiscal year 2007. Its shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol DRI.
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Top Darden Restaurants, Inc. Articles

Displaying items 12-22
  • Darden brings former Walmart exec back to board

     Darden brings former Walmart exec back to board
    Darden Restaurants is bringing back one of its former board directors by adding former Walmart executive Bill Simon as a 13th member, the company said Thursday. Simon decided not to run for re-election as a board director at last week's annual...
  • New Darden board picks Gene Lee for interim CEO

    New Darden board picks Gene Lee for interim CEO
    Darden Restaurants' new board of directors went inside the company Tuesday for a temporary leader by choosing Chief Operating Officer Gene Lee for interim CEO. Starboard Value CEO Jeff Smith, who orchestrated the ouster of all 12 of Darden's former board...
  • Darden changes could come fast, analysts say

     Darden changes could come fast, analysts say
    Q: What will happen with Olive Garden's breadsticks? A: You'll likely see fewer of them brought to the table. Starboard Value CEO Jeff Smith said, "I love Olive Garden Unlimited Breadsticks," just before announcing his company had taken control of...
  • Former Darden exec lands with Norweigan Cruise Line

    Former Darden exec lands with Norweigan Cruise Line
    Former Darden Restaurants president and chief operating officer Drew Madsen was hired for the same job at Miami-based Norweigan Cruise Line. Madsen retired at the end of 2013 during a period of turmoil at Darden Restaurants. "Having delivered...
  • Inside Darden annual meeting: 'A coronation'

    Inside Darden annual meeting: 'A coronation'
    Darden Restaurants shareholder vote on Friday morning for a totally new board of directors offered a case study in a tightly controlled corporate annual meeting. Most of the insiders – meaning the outgoing and incoming board members –...
  • Activist investor wins control of Darden board

    Activist investor wins control of Darden board
    Every member of Darden Restaurants' board of directors was replaced Friday in a move that could have a far-reaching impact on the company — from how many breadsticks are served at Olive Garden to who owns the land on which the restaurants sit. At...
  • Darden showdown with activist investors comes Friday

    Darden showdown with activist investors comes Friday
    The yearlong battle with activist investors for control of Darden Restaurants is heading toward a dramatic collision at the company's annual shareholder meeting Friday in Orlando. Shareholder activist Starboard Value will hold a vote to overthrow Darden'...
  • Darden CEO will leave with $36 million

    Darden CEO will leave with $36 million
    Darden CEO Clarence Otis will get nearly $36 million in cash, stocks and other benefits when he leaves the embattled restaurant chain later this year. His compensation and pay for two other top executives ousted in the past year will total about $68.4...
  • Darden sales improve ahead of proxy showdown

     Darden sales improve ahead of proxy showdown
    Same restaurant sales at Darden's flagship chain Olive Garden rose 0.6 percent in September compared with the last year, giving the company positive news as it heads into a crucial shareholder meeting next week. In a rare move, Darden Restaurants Inc. on...
  • Breadsticks, Mallard Fillmore, and King: Letters

    Breadstick war heats up Bullying comes in many forms, and as we follow the Darden Restaurants-Starboard Value conflict, it would appear Starboard Value hedge fund is trying to bully Darden into changing how it runs its business. Olive Garden has...
  • Revenge of the breadsticks? Darden strikes back

    Revenge of the breadsticks? Darden strikes back
    Darden Restaurants made a formal response Monday to investor criticisms of its Olive Garden chain. The investor, Starboard Value hedge fund, on Friday released a 294-page plan that criticized waste, overspending and Darden employment policies. The...